The Grinch – Review: a grumpy guy who makes you smile
Incredible but true, the Grinch is not only the faces of Jim Carrey which will have marked us in the years 2000. The character who hates Christmas born from the imagination of Ted Geisel goes back much further, 1957 to be precise. A grumpy green that resurfaces today, 52 years after his first animated appearance and the least we can say is that he hasn’t aged a bit, even without Jim.
Attention, the following paper on The Grinch will accumulate a good number of puns, each more mediocre than the other, around the Christmas holidays. We felt obliged to warn you because admitted fault, half forgiven it seems and we did not want you to shout at us (and one!) Afterwards.
But what is the Grinch, or rather who is it? Quite simply a being all green living near Chouville, an imaginary village where everyone breathes happiness, especially during Christmas celebrations. And for our service killjoy, it’s just the worst time of the year. This time, he is determined to spoil his neighbors’ December 25th by stealing gifts, trees and festive decorations.
Let us immediately ask the angry question: is this animated film necessary when the collective imagination still remembers the 2000 film? Necessary no, useful and pleasant without a doubt. Quite simply because we have to admit one thing: the story of the Grinch and the morality it brings are not the reflection of an era, but have a universality that makes the whole timeless. We talk about love for oneself, for others, loneliness, sharing and we celebrate Christmas with the best – and the worst – intentions in the world. And then faced with a live film that suffers the ravages of time in terms of visual effects, an animated feature film was perhaps the best way to bring out a message whose validity remains. Then we must admit, the target is not those who swear by Jim Carrey.
The Grinch kids love
Because if we surprised ourselves to be carried away by the film, it is nothing compared to the little blond heads (or brunettes, or redheads) who take full eyes with a colorful world thought for them. Chouville is a sort of amusement park stuffed with sweets and the lair of the grumpy on duty is full of inventive treasures that excite the imagination. If we add to that funny and endearing characters, as much to say that the degree of “cuteness” reaches new heights.
And even if, in the background, the Grinch necessarily recalls the Me, Moche and Méchant saga (from the same studio) as the similarities are striking, the film does not smell of fir. The comparison quickly fades in front of the undeniable pleasure taken either visually – the quality of the animation is also to be underlined – or narratively with a humor that is always striking. Yes, even our little adult heart, sometimes too cynical, could not resist the charm of this hairy green and his faithful companion.
Well, come on, to play (very lightly) the party spoilers too, we will just slip a word on their version of Christmas which will take great care to glorify our dear Father Christmas version Coca Cola by totally skipping the religious side of the event. Except that it must be recognized, morality seeking to bring people together, the character lends itself more to it than Christ, Jesus Christ. We cannot therefore blame him.
A committed team
Nor can we say that the directors took their mission lightly. From the first minutes, Yarrow Cheney (Comme des Bêtes) and Scott Mosier embark on a twirling and rhythmic staging to offer us a total escape that does not suffer from any length. We have pretty shots that perfectly support the humorous timing, in both substance and form.
Finally, a word to salute the vocal performance of Benedict Cumberbatch – just like that of Laurent Lafitte by us – in whom we note false airs of his Sherlock, the touch of sensitivity in addition. But hey, it’s not as if we discovered the dubbing talents of the guy.